The Container Recycling Institute has called on California to increase the fees it pays to redemption centers to cover the cost of recycling PET beverage containers.
California’s recycling agency, CalRecycle, recently announced it will increase the price paid for PET containers from $165.96 per ton to $198.37 per ton starting April 1.
But the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), a nonprofit advocacy group in the state, says that action is not sufficient.
“It’s an improvement, but not enough to help the centers be profitable,” said Susan Collins, CRI executive director.
According to Collins, CalRecycle’s use of historical data, as opposed to current data, is leading to the shortfall. Starting next month, the state will peg the cost of recycling a ton of PET at $439.41 and projects the value of that material to be about $241, leaving a gap of just over $198. This sum is what the CalRecycle payment aims to cover.
Collins, however, points to state data from December 2015 that shows a ton of PET was worth about $199, not $241, meaning the state should be paying another $42 to cover recycling costs.
In a press release issued last week, CRI pushed the state to increase its processing payment in order to avoid further redemption center closures. Resource Recycling, the sister publication of Plastics Recycling Update, reported on those closures in a story published late last month.
In a statement, CalRecycle spokesperson Mark Oldfield told Resource Recycling “per statute, the processing payment is based on a 12-month rolling average of scrap prices.”
“The quarterly adjustment that takes effect April 1 is reflective of the lower scrap prices experienced in 2015. CalRecycle is doing everything within its authority to support program participants, and will continue to do so,” Oldfield said.